Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Next Code

Let's decode Next Code's intro text. It's short enough to analyze sentence by excruciating sentence:
Unnecessary. Also, nothing makes me stop reading as fast the use of all caps.

Instead of this, tell me how Next Code will do these things. If it's true, I can figure this part out myself.
Let Nextcode help you expand revenues from data services, launch new content and commerce offerings and better satisfy customers.
This is a restatement of the previous (unnecessary) sentence. Readers still have no understanding of the product being offered.

I suppose these first two sentences are included to build up a feeling of suspense in readers. As if people will be clamouring to find out how they can "expand revenues from data services." In reality, everyone glances over these lines and they barely register.
Nextcode’s powerful suite of barcode scanning solutions can work with any camera phone to transform the way consumers access and experience mobile content and commerce.
Ah ha! The mention of the word "barcode" in the third sentence is our first hint of what this company does. We're not sure exactly but we know it involves barcodes. This much we know.

The mention of "camera phone" later in this sentence is obscured by cluttering phrases like "scanning solutions", "transform", "access and experience", and "mobile content and commerce"." These phrases are the equivalent of finding a turd in your soup.

When I'm talking to my grandmother and she asks me, "What does your company do?" I don't say, "We are transforming the way consumers access and experience mobile content and commerce." It would sound stilted, phony, and weird. So why do people write things like this?
Transcend cumbersome keystrokes. Overcome complex menus.
Short. Punchy. Too many big words but these lines had potential. They were the first to tell me something. If I were to rewrite this, I would start here.

Companies should cut out the hype and lay it all out. The only question customers want answered is: What can your company do for me? In the case here, we still don't know anything about Next Code outside of "something involving barcodes."

These short sentences fall in the fourth and fifth slots in the paragraph. We can be assured that no reader has made it this far, except for the poor copy editors who were assigned to check it for misspellings and improper grammar. No one has read this article in its entirety since then.
With Nextcode, just an easy click can turn on a world of new offerings.
And now we come to the concluding summary statement which, as we were all taught in high school, consists entirely of a rephrasing of the previous sentences, which also told us nothing.

So the nebulous whole is drawn into one concluding summary statement which is as vacuous as a black hole. Sentences like these are where meaning goes to die.